Bellator 259: Darrion Caldwell wants win over Kyoji Horiguchi before his MMA career ends


Darrion Caldwell, who returns to bantamweight at Bellator 259, wishes a trilogy combat with Kyoji Horiguchi simply as a lot as getting the Bellator bantamweight belt again.

Throughout the cage, Darrion Caldwell will see a well-recognized face as he returns to a well-recognized place.

The previous Bellator bantamweight champion — who spent late 2019 and all of 2020 competing within the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix — returns to the 135-pound division within the co-main occasion of Bellator 259 on Might 21, when he takes on Leandro Higo.

In March 2018 at Bellator 195, the 2 had met when Caldwell was the reigning Bellator bantamweight champion. Caldwell simply received the title combat with a guillotine choke in underneath three minutes.

In an unique interview with FanSided MMA, Caldwell stated whereas he expects to win the rematch, he’s additionally anticipating a harder combat from Higo this time round.

“I really feel like I all the time acquired one thing to show after I lose the primary time [in wrestling or MMA],” Caldwell advised FanSided MMA. “So I really feel like he’s gonna come out with one thing to show. However, I’ll be trustworthy, he don’t have what it takes.”

Caldwell claimed the Bellator bantamweight title with a win over Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas at Bellator 184. Caldwell retained towards Higo and knocked out Noah Lahat in a featherweight bout earlier than going over to RIZIN, trying to change into each the inaugural RIZIN bantamweight champion and a simultaneous two-promotion bantamweight champion.

And that’s when he bumped into Kyoji Horiguchi.

Returning to bantamweight at Bellator 259, Darrion Caldwell nonetheless yearns for a win over Kyoji Horiguchi

Of their first assembly at RIZIN 14, on New Yr’s Eve 2018, Caldwell struggled to maintain Horiguchi on the mat and ultimately drained out, getting submitted within the third spherical. Then, once they rematched at Bellator 222 with Caldwell’s title on the road, he once more struggled to determine Horiguchi out, dropping the championship in a unanimous determination.

Caldwell says he can’t settle for going winless towards Horiguchi. Whereas there’s loads of doable matchups for him now at bantamweight, together with new champion Sergio Pettis, Horiguchi would be the one identify who’s behind his thoughts.

“I’m going to combat Horiguchi earlier than I die, a method or one other, whether or not it’s in Bellator or I catch him out right here within the streets,” Caldwell stated. “If we do have a [bantamweight] Grand Prix, I believe that’s acquired to be the combat to make first, or [we’ll] be on reverse ends to make it extra significant within the finals. I believe Horiguchi is the man that may gotta combat.

“Earlier than I’m lifeless and gone, Horiguchi’s the man I acquired to combat yet one more time. He simply acquired to beat me up yet one more time. I can’t settle for two losses after which not go on the market once more. I can’t settle for one loss and never wish to combat the man once more.”

Horiguchi was unable to make a protection of the Bellator bantamweight title, relinquishing each the Bellator and RIZIN titles in late 2019 as a result of damage. He lastly returned on New Yr’s Eve 2020 at RIZIN 26 and defeated Kai Asakura to reclaim the RIZIN bantamweight title.

And whereas Bellator and RIZIN have been unable to work collectively over the previous 12 months as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, Pettis, following his Bellator title win over Juan Archuleta, known as out Horiguchi for a possible showdown.

It’s a transfer that Caldwell praised and feels is sweet for Bellator’s 135-pound division. He additionally provides that with Bellator’s recently-introduced rankings system, the perfect is assured to combat the perfect, and there will be no calling out any perceived straightforward competitors.

“I believe [Pettis] calling out Kyoji was large,” Caldwell stated. “Not just for our division, however so far as simply certifying that he truly needs to combat. He needs to be right here and be a champion. So, it actually makes me that rather more hungry to coach and get again to my spot and combat him for a world title.

“Most guys on the market are calling out guys that aren’t even that good. It’s bizarre to me that guys name out anyone however a champion, as a result of that’s what we’re all [here], I assume. I’m on this sport to be a champion; not a man to combat random fights with Joe Schmo, you already know?”

Following Horiguchi’s damage, and a pressured hiatus for Bellator as a result of pandemic, Archuleta and Patchy Combine — two rising names within the bantamweight division — confronted off for the vacant Bellator title at Bellator 246 in September, with Archuleta claiming the belt in a comeback determination.

Moreover, newer names to the Bellator scene have shortly made their mark and risen up the ranks in the direction of title rivalry, reminiscent of Magomed Magomedov and Raufeon Stots.

“I really like the blokes which can be right here now,” Caldwell stated. “I believe it’s nice for the division. They’re all the perfect of the perfect.”

And in taking a learn of the sector, exterior of Pettis and Horiguchi, Caldwell — who says he needs to regain the belt at 135 earlier than attempting for the 145 title once more — says he’d be most all for matchups with Combine and Magomedov, and maybe Stots.

“I do know [Magomedov] is a wrestler; I believe that Russian wrestling versus American wrestling makes for an excellent combat,” Caldwell stated. “I don’t assume Archuleta’s ever known as me out…I don’t actually care to combat Archuleta proper now. I imply sooner or later, that’d be cool, however that Archuleta combat…it isn’t actually interesting to me. It doesn’t actually do something for me; I don’t assume he’s that man. [Stots], I don’t assume he’s robust sufficient, to me. I’m simply going via these guys proper now.

“The Patchy Combine combat is an efficient combat, and the Magomedov combat is an efficient combat. However I believe the Patchy Combine combat is the place I’ll shine. He’s so sluggish, he simply walks ahead. I’ll actually get to make use of my palms and my toes, after which the grappling is simply going to negate itself. In a means, he can grapple however he’s too sluggish; he’s robust, however he’s not quick sufficient. However he’s acquired so many instruments that he can threaten you in quite a lot of positions. I like my pace, I simply know he’s acquired instruments that may actually threaten my type.

“In addition to these three guys, I actually really feel like there’s not anyone else. However that’s the gorgeous factor concerning the division now. Earlier than I left, we needed to go all the way in which to Japan to seek out anyone to combat. So now we acquired guys on a roster, ranked greater than me. I’ve put in work to enhance and to enter the cage and actually put in good work. It makes me that rather more hungry.”

Bellator 259 takes place on Friday, Might 21, 2021, reside from the Mohegan Solar Area in Uncasville, CT. Observe together with FanSided for all of your reside information and highlights.


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